Report on racism in Scales and integrated residence life

April 15, 1971

Report on racism in Scales and integrated residence life

The April 15th and 22nd editions of the Sophian released report excerpts from a six-professor committee on integrated residence at Smith. The committee was chaired by Afro-American Studies professor Sethard Fisher. The request for their study came after a student’s black solidarity bumper sticker was set on fire on November 11, 1970 in Scales House. This fire was one of three: the other two were the burning of a flag on another black student’s door in the first week of school and a wastebasket fire one or two days after the black solidarity bumper sticker fire. As black enrollment rose, the Black Students’ Alliance (BSA) had encouraged black students to make a concentrated move to the Quad in Spring 1970 to promote a shared sense of identity on campus. More than 100 of the 137 black undergraduates at Smith were housed in six Quad houses in Fall 1970, and the study examined four houses: Scales, King, Tyler, and Chapin. Some of the tensions cited in the report were disagreements over the right of black students to “separate” (i.e. sit at tables together without including white students), ambiguity in the role of and reaction to the Head of House, and a lack of effective informal arrangements or formal rules in some houses. Along with its report, the committee released recommendations toward addressing changing demographics, cultural conflicts, and racism at Smith.

SAC releases Smith racism report (1, missing second page)

Committee of 6 recommendations (1, 3)

[Last updated on October 28, 2018]